SALONICA is about Thessaloniki, the northern Greek city at the crossroads of the Orient and Europe, the Balkans and the Mediterranean. The film tells life stories, resembling short novels, which unite to relate a more general story involving many protagonists and interwoven plots resulting in a cinematic narrative of Thessaloniki.
What makes this city historically unique is the fact that for 450 years it was mainly Jewish and the predominant language was Spanish. This is because Thessaloniki was populated by the Jews who were expelled from Catholic Spain in 1492 and who subsequently found refuge in the Ottoman Empire up until their almost total annihilation by the Germans during the Shoah in 1943.
The history of the Jews of Salonica is an unfamiliar, yet profoundly European story. It is a story that echoes across the whole Mediterranean region from Spain to Italy and from the Balkans to Turkey. It is unique, because there has never been another predominantly Jewish city of this size anywhere in Europe.
Against this background, SALONICA takes a close look at the city today, meeting very different people Jewish survivors, Russian immigrants, gypsies, Greek-Macedonian nationalists thereby telling of the citys modern reality, a display of historical layers and stories. From a great variety of real life stories SALONICA paints a cinematic fresco of a place and a century torn apart by violence.
The film deals with a loss that hangs unseen over the city, an absence which hovers over the city und oppresses it. It also tells of the power and burden of the past, of personal and cultural loss and of the individual and collective search for an identity.
SALONICA is the portrait of a city as well as that of an unknown Greece, away from holiday stereotypes.
Paolo Poloni (Director and Editor)
Born 1954 in Lucerne, film maker since 1989.
2008 Héritage, 90 min., (in preproduction).
2008 Salonica, 87 min., feature documentary
2006 Josefstrasse, 52 min., documentary
2005 Die Ratte, die Stadt, das Gift, 52 min., documentary
2003 Viaggio a Misterbianco, 90 min., feature documentary
2002 Mit allen Sinnen, 30 min.
2000 Giorgio Orelli, 17 min.
1999 Asinara, 30 Min. documentary TSI
1998 Fondovalle, 90 min., feature
1995 Rites de passages, 45 Min., documentary
1994 Asmara, 90 min., feature documentary
1990 Witschi geht, 60 min., feature documentary
1989 Volver, 60 min., documentary
Author & Director : Paolo Poloni
Director of Photography : Matthias Kälin
Composer: Minos Matsas
Assistant Director & Sound : Kriton Kalaitzidis
Production Manager & Sound : Theodoros Koutzoulis
Editors : Paolo Poloni, Matthias Bürcher and Florian Siegrist
Editing Trainee : Alkmini Boura
Producer: Rose-Marie Schneider
With the support of
Bundesamt für Kultur (BAK), Schweiz
Eurinfo Schweiz, Media Desk
Succès Passage Antenne
In Coproduction with
Schweizer Fernsehen SF, Madeleine Hirsiger, Urs Augstburger
SRG SSR Idée Suisse, Alberto Chollet
XENIX Filmdistribution GmbH, Zurich
7th Art Releasing, Los Angeles
Doc Productions GmbH